Elliger, Ottomau

, an artist, was the son of an able physician, and was born at Gottemburg the I 8th of September 1633, according to Houbraken, and in 1632 by Weyermann’s account. Ottomar’s father centred all his views in making his son a scholar, and he therefore put him to study the languages under the most famous professors. It was soon perceived that he relaxed in his progress in every other of his lessons, in proportion as his taste for painting was unfolded: and that in the very classes and school-hours he was secretly practising with the crayon. Chastisements were even found ineffectual to his correction, notwithstanding the obstinacy of his mother in not altering her purpose. A lucky accident delivered our young man from this disagreeable situation. One day a poor person desired to speak in private with the physician: the beggar displayed to him his extreme distress in several languages. The wife of the physician, who was present at this conversation, said to her husband, “Since I see that there are men of learning in indigence as well as painters, I think it altogether indifferent to which profession my son applies; let him satisfy his own inclination.” Elliger was then placed at Antwerp in the school of Daniel Segers, the Jesuit; where he learnt to paint flowers and fruit, and at length equalled his master. He was called to the court of Berlin, where he was highly honoured for his talents, and the elector Frederic William appointed him his principal painter. This prince found great amusement in conversing with Elliger, and his smart replies on all occasions pleased him so much, that he made frequent visits to his lodgings. This agreeable life, in which he found much profit as well as pleasure, continued till his death, the year of which is not known. Elliger’s works, which are as much sought after as those of his master, are principally in Germany, where they are preserved with the utmost care. 2


Deschamps. vol. II.